Contrary to popular belief, pets are not just for those who are young and working. In fact, research indicates that having a pet can be advantageous for physical and mental health as you age.

If you are retiring and thinking about relocating, consider North Carolina. Chris Creekmore with Creekmore Realty specializes in 55+ communities in New Hanover and Brunswick counties. He can help you find your dream home, whether you are purchasing a second home or you want to relocate.

A pet can help you connect with others when your previous connections are strained due to your retirement or relocation. A pet gives you a reason to get out of the house and be social. Additionally, research indicates that owning a pet can lower your blood pressure and reduce your stress levels, along with encouraging physical activity and social interactions.

In this article, we’ll give you some tips on choosing the right pet as well as the top 5 best pets for retirees.

How to Choose the Right Pet

Finding the right pet for you requires matching your lifestyle and access choices as well as determining any issues that may come up later. Therefore, before you rush out and find a pet for yourself or a loved one, there are a few things you need to ask:

  • What pets have you owned previously?
  • Have you ever owned a pet?
  • Do you have any limitations or disabilities?
  • Would you prefer an emotional support animal?
  • What age pet is best for you?

For retirees, often an older pet that already has some training is better than a kitten or puppy because younger pets often require extra care in the beginning. If the pet is already older, there may also be some extra care required. If the retiree has health issues that require consistent doctor visits or hospital stays, it can have an effect on the pet’s well-being.

For some, price is a factor because dogs or cats cost twice as much as birds or fish- but if the pet is healthy and isn’t too big or doesn’t require a lot of extra care, cost may not be a major dealbreaker.

Personality can also be a major factor and while both the retiree and the pet will adapt to the other’s needs, it’s a good idea to discuss with the breeder or employee at the shelter about the temperament and personality of the pet.

Top 5 Best Pets for Retirees

When you retire, you’re often left wondering what to do with yourself. A pet can fill this void, but how do you know what pet to get? Below are the 5 best pets for retirees to consider.


This is typically the first animal people think of when they consider getting a pet because they give you something else to focus on and help you live in the moment. However, it is important to note that dogs do require a lot of care and attention.


If the attentiveness of a dog is too much or you have mobility issues, a cat can be a fun, friendly companion. After all, they are fairly independent and they vocalize what they want, when they want it.


Rabbits are also fairly independent but love attention when they get it. They can be put in a pen so that you have a choice of when and how long to interact. It’s important to note that rabbits only live for about 1 to 2 years, so if you want a long-term companion, this might not be the best option for you.


Fish are fairly inexpensive and easy to care for- especially if you have issues with mobility. They also have fun personalities and can be soothing to look at.


Birds can also be inexpensive and easy to care for. However, they can get expensive and complicated to care for, depending on the type of bird you choose. One thing is for sure, no matter what you choose, they can bring a song to your home and can be pretty to look at.


Retirement brings about a whole variety of changes. You may find that you’re not sure exactly what to do with yourself when you’re not getting up and going to work every day. A pet can help fill that void.

If you are retiring and considering moving to or purchasing a vacation home in North Carolina, contact Chris Creekmore at Creekmore Realty. He specializes in 55+ communities in New Hanover and Brunswick Counties. He can help you find your dream home and help you connect with other retirees in the area.